For Our Vanity This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Do you use pesticides, drugs, cosmetics, or household cleaners? If so, chances are your simple bottle of cleaner or your waterproof mascara has killed animals. Every year more than 20 million animals are used for experimental testing in laboratories, military facilities, and commercial testing firms. Many don't know this is happening, and the few who do probably don't know the degree of concern this deserves.

Each year millions of guinea pigs, mice, rats, rabbits, hamsters, primates, dogs, cats, and other animals die in agonizing and cruel tests of beauty products and their ingredients. These animals are poked, prodded, injected with chemicals and exposed to dangerous radiation.

Two of the most common tests are the Lethal-Dose 50 Test (LD-50 Test) and the Draize Test. In the LD-50 Test, chemicals are given to the animals until half die. Large numbers of animals are forced to eat chemicals, inhale them, have them applied to their skin, or injected into their bodies. These substances result in signs of poisoning in the animals, including labored breathing, tremors, bleeding from the eyes, nose, or mouth, convulsions, paralysis, and coma. If the animals do not die from poisoning, they are ruthlessly killed at the end of the testing period. In the Draize Test, chemicals are placed in the eyes of live, restrained animals, usually rabbits, causing reactions from mild redness to painful ulceration, hemorrhaging of the eye, and blindness. Sometimes chemicals are placed on the shaved skin of an animal causing overheating, swelling, abscesses and severe pain.

If this senseless suffering is not enough, scientists have found these tests to be unreliable. Many substances are not irritating to animals but are for humans, or vice versa. Why should defenseless animals be forced to suffer and die for the unnecessary vanity of the human race?

Animal testing becomes even more useless since recently non-animal testing (which is more reliable and cheaper) has been developed. These include "in vitro" (test tube) tests that are conducted on single-celled organisms and computer modeling. If, at times it is necessary to test on animals, it is only humane to follow the "3 R's approach" established by animal activists: Can animals be replaced in the procedure? Can the number of animals used be reduced? Can the procedure be refined so that the animals experience less pain or suffering? Though this approach will not save all the animals, it could hopefully reduce the large number dying from these inhumane procedures.

This is a very difficult and controversial issue. I think it is completely unacceptable to inflict pain and death on innocent animals merely for the purpose of our convenience and vanity. u


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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